Likud freezes 'death penalty for terrorists' bill

Coalition Chairman instructs committee not to hold vote on Yisrael Beytenu's bill seeking to make it easier to execute terrorists.

Hezki Baruch,

Binyamin Netanyahu attends Likud faction meeting
Binyamin Netanyahu attends Likud faction meeting
Miriam Alster/Flash90

Coalition Chairman MK David Amsalem (Likud) on Tuesday instructed the Knesset Constitution Committee headed by MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home) not to advance the "death penalty for terrorists bill" promoted by Yisrael Beytenu.

Former Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman, chairman of Yisrael Beytenu, slammed the decision. "We were shocked to hear during the discussion of the death penalty for terrorists bill from the chairman of the Constitution Committee, MK Nissan Slomiansky, that he will not raise the issue to a vote because of an order he received ‘from above,’ from heads of the coalition.”

"We see this as a gross violation by the coalition against the voting public and bereaved families," Liberman added.

Last night, a proposal from Yisrael Beytenu was submitted to the coalition, according to which Liberman's faction would support from the opposition all the bills that are “in line with its ideology," including the cultural loyalty bill, provided the coalition supports the passing of the death penalty to terrorists bill. At the moment, however, there are no agreements on the subject.

While Israel has a law permitting the death penalty, no executions have been carried out in the Jewish state since the 1962 execution of the Nazi SS officer Adolf Eichmann.

Under current law, the death penalty may only be imposed by unanimous decision. The bill proposed by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party would remove this requirement, empowering both civilian and military courts to execute terrorists convicted of murder with only simple majority of judges on the court.

The bill passed its preliminary vote in January, but had remained in legislative limbo until the prime minister gave a green light earlier this month to advance the bill. A vote in today’s discussion in the Constitution Committee would have allowed the bill to advance to a first reading. However, as mentioned, this did not happen.